Posts tagged sexism
Posts tagged sexism
Lindy West, “Sexism Fatigue: When Seth MacFarlane Is a Complete Ass and You Don’t Even Notice” on Jezebel.
If you’ve written anything in support of feminism, women, or just happen to be a person who identifies female on the internet, here’s the 14 types of sexist comments (or anons) you’re guaranteed to get.
occupy wall street
If your blog posts anything like the above, please reblog this so I can follow you! I really want to build up a big network of progressive bloggers to help inspire my own vision and get more involved in activism in general.
Please and thank you, comrades!
Oh hi mostly my entire blog.
Well, except cat pictures. I post those often.
I knew it was inevitable. There would be people out there claiming that if Anne Hathaway hadn’t, I don’t know, had a ladyflower or something, some poor paparazzo wouldn’t have had to take a picture of it to sell at a profit. Now, these folks will claim it’s not OK to take pictures of people’s genitals without their consent, but….
…Anne Hathaway totally brought it on herself by not wearing underwear, getting out of the car properly, taking personal responsibility, wearing a chastity belt, being a woman, being famous, being a famous woman, etc. so therefore, I’m hitting the Google for some upskirt. Or at the very least, defending the creeper photogs making a killing off of Anne Hathaway’s blurry crotch pics.
Seriously. There’s laws against upskirt photos in several states (including New York), and the federal Video Voyeurism Act of 2004, but what it typically comes down to legally is whether or not the person had an expectation of privacy, if special equipment (i.e. a bathroom camera) was used to get the shot, and whether or not the image is of bare body parts most people consider the bathing suit area. Unsuprisingly, there’s no “fair game” clause for famous folks who get out of cars awkwardly in any of these laws.
The “she totally asked for it” attitude goes beyond legal ramifications — there’s a dark undercurrent of institutionalized misogyny and rape culture here. If Paris Hilton were raped by an acquaintance after a night of partying in NYC with drugs and booze, there would probably be more internet schadenfreude than if it happened to a stereotypical sorority girl from NYU. Both are terrible events, both would elicit the “she was asking for it” trope, but Paris Hilton would be raked through the coals because of who she is — I mean, SHE MADE A SEX TAPE AND IT WAS RELEASED PUBLICLY, DUH. </sarcasm>
Here’s another example. A substitute teacher in Georgia was fired this year after posting upskirt photos of his allegedly 18-year-old students to the r/creepshots Reddit. In a few threads, he admits the students were younger than 18. Redditors came to his defense, arguing that the girls were asking for it by sitting at their desks with their legs slightly apart in skirts, or by simply dressing sexy. You get the idea. That’s an outrage, right?
This week Anne Hathaway, while in NYC for a movie premiere, got out of a car and accidentally exposed her lack of underwear. As she explained to Matt Lauer (who
hilariously boorishly quipped, “We’ve seen a lot of you lately”) the incident “kind of made me sad that we live in an age when someone takes a pic of you in a vulnerable moment and sells it rather than deletes it.” She added, “I’m sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies unwilling participants…”
“Unwilling” being the key word there. Both Hathaway and the teacher’s students were unwilling participants. As Erin Gloria Ryan wrote regarding the educator:
“Because when women turn 18, they magically become public property to be photographed whenever and jerked off to by whomever. Hey, it’s not dudes’ faults your existence drives them into a penile frenzy… there’s also, you know, the fact that we over-18 human females also don’t much appreciate being treated like decorative sex toys. Women’s bodies are not public domain, and demanding control over our images isn’t ‘ruining anyone’s fun.’ It’s asking to be treated like a goddamn person.”
Exactly. This idea that women’s bodies are in the public domain runs rampant once a famous woman is involved. Don’t believe me? Just Google any famous female celebrity and “upskirt” — you’re likely to get at least a few hits. I would argue that not respecting the right of female celebrities to avoid being commodified as unwilling sexual objects for profit desensitizes us to sexual violations and objectification of all female persons, whether for profit in a capitalist manner (paparazzi, gossip sites, and tabloid publishing) or for the sexual gratification of Reddit denizens seeking to jerk off to a non-consenting target.
(Note: Before any of you folks get the bright idea to say “but wimmenz is nekkid in movies all teh time!” remember, the operative word is “unwilling.” Actors and actresses are compensated for nude scenes, are often not actually nude, and have arguably more control over what is ultimately distributed and exposed. They’re willing participants. It’s the difference between Anne Hathaway in NYC this week and Anne Hathaway in the 2010 flick Love and Other Drugs [Link NSFW]. Or, alternately, just because I’ve consented to sex with guys before doesn’t mean I’m down to fuck every guy who wants it.)
So where does that leave us? Strangely prudish, with an intense desire to almost punish female celebrities with the loss of personal possession of their image and, symbolically, their bodies. It’s not that far away from justifying exploitation to justifying assault. In both cases, “she was asking for it” and “she put herself in that situation” takes the blame off the violator and places it on the person who dared to wear too little clothing, too much makeup, wear sweats, drink, walk home alone, get out of a car, go to school, have a vagina, have breasts, be a female person, etc.
Here’s Exhibit A. Meet Emily Moray. I posted the comment from political cartoonist Matt Bors about ascribing blame where it belongs earlier. Well, Emily thinks it’s mostly Anne Hathaway’s fault because, as she says, “[T]here is a difference between having your labia photographed when you have the expectation of privacy and when you show up to A PUBLICITY EVENT. I’m not saying that the photographer and the publisher did the right thing, but she is also responsible for her actions.” Here’s what happened after that [Click to view larger]:
Got that? Every actress should know she will be photographed upskirt. And Anne Hathaway absolutely cannot haz that sad she told Matt Lauer she had. Because she should know better. And it continues…
Exactly how far does “she was asking for it” go? Apparently, far enough that a woman should shut her goddamn mouth if she’s silly enough to think she deserves to go out in public looking like that — especially if she’s any kind of celebrity. </sarcasm> Remember, every time you giggle and share that Huffington Post slideshow with the latest unintentional exposure by a famous woman captured in upskirt or downblouse shots, you’re reinforcing the message to women across the gender spectrum that their bodies are not their own, and they too can be sexual objects commodified for sexual pleasure or profit.
I hate it too. I find it disgusting. First off, it’s appalling that he or his friends would tell you to stop being so negative towards sexism. Really?
Don’t. Sexism was negative to you first, and it should be able to take as good as it gets. Would they have told Rosa Parks to sit her ass at the back of the bus and stop being so negative toward racism?
Sheesh. And how dare you make it awkward by calling out their sexism? I bet it was super awkward for dudebros the first time women voted, but they’ve mostly gotten over it. Mostly. Now they just joke about institutionalized oppression. Always remember that the person who tells the joke is responsible for awkwardness, not we women for responding to it and calling it out.
I’m not laughing. And you shouldn’t be expected to either.
I decided to share this message with my husband, Andrew, for his thoughts — as a dude, he has a perspective that I lack. Here’s what he had to say:
“I think your boy needs to check himself before he wrecks your relationship. Part of being a feminist is standing up to discrimination in your own life. If your boy isn’t willing to stand up to his friends who are ‘joking’ and putting you down, that says quite a bit about him. Don’t be afraid to find someone who respects your opinions and is willing to say so to his friends.”
I’ll say he seriously nailed it. Andrew was pretty shocked when I read him your ask — let’s just say he had a few choice words for the kind of people not willing to stand up for the one person they supposedly love because it would be “awkward” and “negative.”
It is completely a problem, and I have a few suggestions. First, have a very frank talk with your boyfriend — just the two of you — and explain to him just exactly how you feel when he doesn’t stand up for you. If you haven’t told him how you feel, it’s prime-time to let him know.
Ask him if he accepts their “humor” and if he thinks those jokes are funny. He likely doesn’t, but doesn’t want to rock the boat. Too bad. Would he tell a person of color to “stop being so negative” if his pals were telling racist jokes? Frances Othen nicely sums up why this humor is destructive:
“But sexism is alive and well, and part of every woman’s life. Even some of my most enlightened male friends, who would probably call themselves feminists, are guilty of sexist behavior. Every time a joke is made about how women are less intelligent and less worthy of respect, I cringe. However flippant and inoffensive the phrasing may be, the assumptions and social conditioning behind the statement are dangerous.”
Try to avoid pushing for a “me or your buddies” ultimatum — his friends are ignorant assholes, but unless he gets new pals or they get educated, they are his friends. Make sure you’re framing it in terms of attacking the behavior, not his pals. Here’s a guide on why ignorance is not an excuse. You could even explain that you know he’s smarter than someone who would hang out with people who have such negative attitudes towards women, and that it’s terrible that others likely assume he shares the dudebros’ attitudes.
If it’s possible, try to educate the dudebros. You can blind them with science or obfuscation.
Blinding them with science: A recent study by the Melbourne Business School found, to almost no one’s surprise, sexist jokes and an “I was just joking” attitude hold women back in the workplace and contribute to a culture of bullying:
Sexist jokes in the workplace are one of the biggest factors impacting women’s ability to thrive, a study has found. Companies lack strategy to tackle “low level sexism” despite having policies in place that target “overt” sexual harassment, a Melbourne Business School report found. One way organisations should target low-level sexism is by implementing a “no just joking” policy, the report recommends.
“Still in the general population there is a perception it’s ok to engage in sexual slang and sexist jokes,” said report author Victor Rojo. “This has negative impact on the health and performance of female workers, and it creates a culture where it’s okay to be a bully.”
Point your boyfriend to this part:
“If women feel they do not fit in or are not accepted as equals they are less likely to stay in their role or in the organisation,” the report said.
Or in the role as “girlfriend” in the “we” organization… just sayin’.
Bonus science! What happens when dudebros think other dudebros approve of their behavior? Discrimination:
In the second experiment, men were shown video clips of sexist or non-sexist comedy skits and were then asked to participate in a project designed to determine how funding cuts should be allocated amongst select student organizations.
“We found that, upon exposure to sexist humor, men higher in sexism discriminated against women by allocating larger funding cuts to a women’s organization than they did to other organizations,” [Thomas] Ford said. “We also found that, in the presence of sexist humor, participants believed the other participants would approve of the funding cuts to women’s organizations,” he said. “We believe this shows that humorous disparagement creates the perception of a shared standard of tolerance of discrimination that may guide behavior when people believe others feel the same way.”
Just steeping themselves in sexist humor actually makes them more sexist. Hilarious, right? </sarcasm> You can even point it out to them gently (assuming they’re all cisgendered, hetero, and seeking lady friends) by saying, “You know guys, it would really suck if people viewed you as total sexist assholes for these jokes, especially other girls. I mean, I know you’re smarter than that, right?” Force them to explain that they’re not.
Which brings us to intentionally not getting the joke. This is one my favorites, but it can devolve quickly into an argument about the humor itself and “you shouldn’t be so sensitive” bullshit, so use it if you’re sure you can follow through at the end versus continue the discussion.
Basically, if one of them cracks a sexist joke, don’t get mad. Keep telling dudebro you don’t get it until he’s backed into a corner and forced to explain why women are stupid, not worthy of respect, etc. Then just say, “Oh,” and walk away. Leave. Because that makes the whole social situation as awkward as fuck and calls attention to the person who keeps trying to explain why it shouldn’t be squirm-worthy.
Finally, here’s some advice for your boyfriend on why and how he should stand up for you, besides it being the right goddamn thing to do, especially because he supposedly loves you. First, some suggested responses from Steve at Stop Sexist Remarks (that you can also use) to redirect the conversation. He writes:
There may be situations in which we decide that the costs of a potentially uncomfortable interaction outweigh the benefits of addressing sexist “humor” directly. In those cases, an in-between solution may be an alternative to doing nothing.
- Hey, let’s keep it classy, OK?
- Could we elevate the conversation?
- Now that the sexist part of the conversation is over, can we move on?
I’m sure your boyfriend, if asked, would claim he believes in women’s rights and sees you as an equal, right? Well, that’s not enough. Here’s some great advice on how to be a feminist boyfriend in general:
Identify as a feminist. If you want to be a feminist boyfriend, first you have to be a feminist. Saying ‘I’m for women’s equality’ and ‘of course a woman can be president’ is all well and good, but an important part of advocating for women’s rights is being willing to say that you’re in it with the people who are fighting in name…
Don’t tolerate sexism. Being a feminist boyfriend is not just about how you treat your girlfriend. When you are around others, whether your girlfriend is there or not, don’t tolerate sexist or misogynist remarks from your friends, family, or coworkers. Retorts that aren’t overly earnest include ‘dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?’ ‘sometimes I really wish you were funny’ and ‘I’m sorry, is this a time machine? Are we in 1950?’ ‘You know, women have the vote now and everything!’ Most importantly, don’t laugh. Cultivate a good sneer.
Emphasis mine. It’s not just about how he treats you, which seems to be lacking at the moment. I’m sure he’s going to insist he’s not one of those guys, you know, the ones who treat women badly. Kate Harding has summed up why that’s wrong:
But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:
- every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
- every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
- every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
- every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
- every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
- every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman
You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.
You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already…
When you trivialize what even the women you love are saying to you, when you let sexist remarks slide, when you insist that women view things from your perspective (rational! calm! reasonable!) because you don’t feel like trying to see theirs (emotional! hysterical! nuts!), when you sit around laughing with other men about how crazy chicks are before you go home to the wife and daughters you love more than life and always treat with respect… You’re enjoying the luxury of not having to take what we’re telling you seriously–and that’s why we get so goddamned frustrated and angry and hysterical. Because we don’t have the option of not caring about this shit, and you just keep telling us not to.
And because the really bad guys don’t pop out of thin air as fully formed misogynists. They need encouragement and reinforcement in order to completely miss the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them. Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know – thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms – gives them that.
If none of that is enough for him, and the actual pain and distress YOU feel is not enough to convince him, take Andrew’s advice. Don’t be afraid to find someone who respects your opinions and is willing to say so to his friends. And tell him exactly that.
I hope this helps you and others dealing with this same fuckery. It’s not okay.
Conservatives Bash Sandra Fluke’s Convention Speech, Parroting Limbaugh’s Sexist Attacks
Despite the widespread outcry against Rush Limbaugh’s and Bill O’Reilly’s sexist smears against Sandra Fluke earlier this year — when they claimed she was a “slut” who wants the government to pay for her “social life” — other far-right commentators haven’t quite grasped why these types of attacks are offensive. After Fluke took to the stage of the Democratic National Convention last night to articulate the issues at stake in the ongoing War on Women, conservative media took to Twitter to bash her for “whining” about needing free birth control for the activities that go on in her “bedroom”.
All I can say is, keep talking shitheads.
Look at how ANGRY these people are that a woman tried to talk in a place she was shut out from talking in. Jfc.
Yeah, keep talking. You do yourself no favors.
Quiet, ladies. The menfolk are drafting strategery.
Matt Bors is hilarious, spot-on, and equal opportunity — seriously. Check out the Obama Hunger Games. Though the Republican Party is being slammed for not including women, several high-profile Republican women were scheduled for this year’s convention — though the number of female speakers overall is similar to the 2008 convention in Minnesota.
Are more women supporting Romney? If the polls have anything to say about it, no, but the gender gap is not as huge as the Democrats are making it out to be, at least in party preference. From Gallup:
50% of women prefer Obama, and 42% prefer Romney. The gap has remained relatively steady.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie claimed in his keynote speech last night that “real leaders don’t follow polls,” but somehow change them.
Gallup Editor-In-Chief Frank Newport responded, “Does [Christie] mean that they ignore polls and by inference ignore the attitudes and will of the people? That’s a pretty dangerous path to go down. In my view, real leaders pay close attention to the will of the people as measured by polls and take that will into account as a highly important (but not sole) source of input and wisdom in making necessary policy decisions.”
I suppose November will be the true test of whether Republicans changed polls versus kicking themselves for not following them.